Perth Oval, also known for sponsorship reasons as HBF Park, is a sports stadium in Perth, the capital of the Australian state of Western Australia. Located close to Perth’s central business district, the stadium currently has a maximum capacity of 20,500 people for sporting events and 25,000 people for concerts, with the ground’s record attendance of 32,000 people set during an Ed Sheeran concert in 2015. The land on which the stadium was built was made a public reserve in 1904, with the main ground developed several years later.
Perth Oval was the home ground of the East Perth Football Club in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) from 1910 until 2002, and hosted several of the competition’s grand finals during that time. In 2004, the ground was redeveloped, altering it from an oval field to a rectangular field. The ground is currently home to two major professional sporting clubs: Perth Glory FC, a soccer team competing in the A-League, and the Western Force, a rugby union team playing in the Global Rapid Rugby competition. The ground is also used by the WA Reds, a semi-professional rugby league team competing in the S. G. Ball Cup, as well as for concerts.
The stadium is currently used for hosting sports events and concerts.
In sports mode the stadium has a capacity of around 20,500. Soccer club Perth Glory has played at the ground since 1996. The stadium is unusual among modern Australian stadiums for having a standing terrace at the northern end of the ground, called ‘The Shed’.
The ground has hosted rugby union team Western Force since 2010. The Force’s move to the stadium led to a minor redevelopment of facilities at the ground, including an increase in capacity and improved lighting.
Since 2009, there have been annual NRL games played at the oval, generally as South Sydney Rabbitohs home games, with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles joining in 2016. The stadium has housed the administrative facilities of the Western Australia Rugby League since 2003.
The land on which the stadium is built was known as Loton’s Paddock after the previous owner William Loton, Lord Mayor of Perth. The Paddock had been reclaimed from part of Stone’s Lake, which was part of a lake system known as The Great Lakes District which included Lake Monger and Herdsman Lake.
Loton sold the land to the City of Perth in 1904 with the purpose of providing recreation for the residents of the area. After the 2004 redevelopment, part of the ground reverted to public open space and the original name, Loton Park was re-applied, to honour Loton, and Yoordgoorading as a reference to the original Indigenous inhabitants of the land.
In the early 1930s large white entry gates were built on the north west corner of the ground. These have since been heritage listed.
In 1905 the land was offered to the WA British Football Association for £2000, but the asking price was considered too high.
Prior to the 2004 redevelopment, Perth Oval was oval-shaped, and when Perth Glory FC entered the NSL in 1996, temporary stands were moved onto the pitch to get supporters closer to the action. After playing in these conditions for four years, it became apparent that the Glory would need their own rectangular stadium and after Glory’s proposed redevelopment of Leederville Oval was rejected, the Town of Vincent completely overhauled the ground into a rectangular stadium.
Perth Glory are now major tenants of this stadium and continue play their home games at Perth Oval.
Perth Oval also hosted the 2014 W-League Semi-Final and Grand Final matches involving Perth Glory Women.
2015 saw the return of the Socceroos to Perth after a 10-year absence, with a 5–0 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier win against Bangladesh on 3 September, in front of a 19,495-strong crowd. The following year on 1 September the Socceroos returned for another World Cup Qualifier against Iraq, with 18,923 in attendance.
Men’s International Soccer
Game Date Team Result Team Attendance Part of 1 3 September 2015 Australia 5–0 Bangladesh 19,495 2018 World Cup Qualification – Second Round 2 1 September 2016 Australia 2–0 Iraq 18,923 2018 World Cup Qualification – Third Round
Women’s International Soccer
Game Date Team Result Team Attendance Part of 1 26 March 2018 Australia 5–0 Thailand 7,549 Friendly
Australian rules football
Australian rules football club East Perth Football Club moved to Perth Oval from Wellington Square in 1910, and played at the ground until 1999 except in 1940 due to a dispute with the Perth City Council over rents, and in 1988 and 1989 when the WAFL attempted an unsuccessful move to the WACA. After the Royals played their last match at the ground, they permanently moved away in 2003.
In 1956 the F.D. Book Stand was built as part of East Perth Football Club’s golden jubilee celebrations. It was named after administrator Fred Book, who was instrumental in ensuring Perth Oval stayed as a sporting ground during World War II.
The ground was briefly used as a home base for East Perth’s WAFL rivals West Perth and Perth. Six West Australian Football League Grand Finals were played at Perth Oval, the first being in 1912 and the last in 1935.
Rugby was played at Perth Oval as early as 1905.
The ground has occasionally been used by the Western Australian Rugby Union to host state league finals matches at least as far back as 1940.
Game Date Team Result Team Attendance Part of 1 17 September 2017 Australia 36–20 Argentina 20,826 2016 Rugby Championship 2 9 September 2017 Australia 23–23 South Africa 17,528 2017 Rugby Championship
Rugby league has been an annual fixture at nib stadium since 2009, with South Sydney Rabbitohs hosting a home game once a season with the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles joining them from 2016 onwards. The biggest crowds have occurred in games involving the New Zealand Warriors. It was announced in January 2016 that the stadium would host Perth’s first rugby league test match between the Australian Kangaroos and the New Zealand Kiwis on 15 October 2016.
It was also selected as a venue for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
List of rugby league test matches played at the Perth Oval.
Game Date Team Result Team Attendance Part of 1 15 October 2016 Australia 26–6 New Zealand 20,283 2016 Four Nations 2 12 November 2017 England 36–6 France 14,744 2017 World Cup Group A 3 12 November 2017 Wales 6–34 Ireland 14,744 2017 World Cup Group C
The first game played at the venue was in the 1997 Super League season. The Perth-based Western Reds moved their round 4 game against the Canterbury Bulldogs to the oval due to the unavailability of their usual home ground, the WACA. On that occasion the Reds won 36–6 in what was the venue’s smallest rugby league attendance (until 2017) of 7,135.
The record sport attendance is 27,473, for an interstate Australian football match between Western Australia and Victoria on 6 July 1929 – which was at the time the record football crowd in Western Australian history. The highest crowd for a club match was 26,760 for the 31 May 1969 derby Australian football match between East Perth and West Perth.
The record football crowd for a match at the ground is 19,495, for a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier between the Socceroos and Bangladesh, bettering the previous record of 18,067 in the 1998–99 NSL season game between Perth Glory and South Melbourne FC.
HBF Park has been the venue of major music concerts, including:
Concerts Year Date Artist/s 2005 15 February Tom Jones & John Farnham 19 February Moonlight Music and Wine Festival 29 October Luciano Pavarotti 2007 9 February Roger Waters 11 February Eric Clapton 2008 1 February The Police 2 February 5 March Rod Stewart 29 March Jack Johnson 8 April Celine Dion 10 May Elton John 31 October Def Leppard 1 November Eros Ramazzotti 23 November Billy Joel 2009 4 April The Who 14 November Pearl Jam 11 December Fleetwood Mac 12 December 2010 25 January Raggamuffin 18 April Supafest 24 November Leonard Cohen 4 December Jack Johnson 10 December Eagles 2011 29 March Neil Diamond 6 April Lionel Richie 15 October Def Leppard 22 October Meat Loaf 19 November Kings of Leon 28 November Foo Fighters 2012 4 February Rod Stewart 2013 11 December Taylor Swift 2015 8 March Foo Fighters 2 December Ed Sheeran 2016 20 November RNB Fridays Live 2017 6 March Justin Bieber 14 October RNB Fridays Live 2 December Paul McCartney 2018 20 January Foo Fighters 9 November RNB Fridays Live 2019 5 March Red Hot Chili Peppers 30 November Elton John 1 December
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